Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted a large series of strikes against targets in Russia on the night of December 29 to 30 and on December 30.
  • Russian forces conducted a lower number of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on December 30 following the large Russian strike series on December 29.
  • Russian officials continued to clearly state that Russia is not interested in negotiating with Ukraine or the West in good faith and intends to achieve its maximalist objectives in Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin’s recent public rhetoric about its maximalist objectives and imperial designs in Ukraine are permeating the Russian information space.
  • Russia continues to set information conditions aimed at destabilizing Moldova by framing Russia as a protector of allegedly threatened Russian-language speakers in Moldova.
  • Russia continues attempts to actively shape the Western information space to support Russian positions and undermine support for Ukraine while portraying these efforts as endogenous to the West.
  • The Russian Ministry Foreign Affairs (MFA) emphasized Russia’s improving diplomatic relations with non-Western countries in way that suggests that the Kremlin is insecure about the possibility of diplomatic isolation against the backdrop of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russian forces made confirmed gains near Kreminna, Bakhmut and Avdiivka as positional engagements continued along the entire line of contact.
  • The Russian military command reportedly continued the dissolution of the “Kaskad” operational combat tactical formation of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DNR) Internal Affairs Ministry (MVD) to support its efforts to formalize control over Russian irregular forces.
  • Russia continues efforts to integrate education systems in occupied Ukraine and expand education programs aimed at eliminating Ukrainian identity in occupied territories.

Authors: Nicole Wolkov, Christina Harward, Kateryna Stepanenko, Riley Bailey, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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